Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Speziale to Limit Term as Top Cop in Pa. City

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Speziale to Limit Term as Top Cop in Pa. City

Article excerpt

PATERSON - Police Director Jerry Speziale announced on Thursday that he would limit his term as interim police chief of Hazleton, Pa., to at most 120 days while officials there search for a permanent replacement.

Speziale had come under criticism in newspaper editorials and in online comment for his plans to play a part-time role as Hazleton police chief while continuing to serve as Paterson's full-time director.

Speziale's statement said he reached a "workable solution" after discussing the arrangement with officials in Paterson and Hazleton.

His appointment as Hazleton's chief was postponed early this week as the part-time arrangement came under fire. Neither Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat nor any city officials there could be reached for comment, and it was unclear Thursday evening when Speziale would be declared interim chief.

Speziale's salary in Paterson is about $92,000. Officials have not yet disclosed what he would be paid as interim chief in Hazelton.

"At no time was it ever decided that I would hold both of these positions on a long-term basis, which would not be a realistic option," Speziale said in a statement. "For the next 90 days, with no more than 120 maximum, I will continue to work in an interim capacity with the Hazleton PD while the search for a permanent chief is conducted."

He said that during that period, "my commitment to Paterson will remain steadfast," and that he was confident he could handle the part-time work without compromising his duties in Paterson.

"I will be in constant communication with all parties to make sure that Paterson and Hazleton are well served," he said.

Paterson Mayor Joey Torres has remained supportive of Speziale's plans to take on the extra duties in Hazleton, saying he expected the director to give the city a "150 percent" effort. …

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